A traditional book tour is when an author takes his or her book on the road stopping at bookstores, coffee shops, and libraries to do presentations or book signings. A blog tour involves your book being featured on different blogs and websites over a specific time period. The dates are set in advance like a book tour, and each article or post is unique to the site or blog hosting it. A related idea is the blog blitz. This is when your book is featured on different blogs or websites, but on the same day.
Book bloggers are an excellent choice to include in your blog tour. Reedsy has a large list of book bloggers you can find here. Other places you might consider are websites that are in your niche. For instance, if you write about health topics, perhaps a health blogger would be interested in featuring your book.
You can provide an ARC (advanced review copy) to bloggers and website owners that would like to review your book. You also could provide promotional information or an exclusive excerpt for those that don’t have time to read it before your launch date. Don’t forget about podcasts, giveaways, or author interviews as potential promotional material for your blog tour.
You should organize your blog tour about six weeks before your book launch so that bloggers and web site owners have time to schedule your feature post during the time immediately before and after your launch. Make sure to include how readers can purchase your book as well as sharing the post on your social media channels. Take the time to visit and comment on the blog or website that is hosting your blog tour that day.
After you’ve finished your book, done extensive proofreading, had another set of eyes look at it for editing issues, and check your formatting, you should organize your book launch. In this chapter, you’ll find a six-month book launch (six months before and six months after), but you can adapt the timing and suggested marketing to fit your needs.
Before your book launch, you should have your Author Website, Facebook Author Page, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts already set up and be sharing interesting non-launch information regularly. If not, time to get on the stick about it. Continue sharing value-filled content during the entire launch period, with sporadic promotional posts.
Six Months Before Launch
Post a cover reveal across your social media sites.
Conversely, if you haven’t decided on a final cover design yet, you can poll your followers. Ask them which design do they prefer and why.
Five Months Before Launch
Add your book blurb to your Author Website and share it on your social media channels.
If you’ve already uploaded your manuscript to the publishing platform of your choice, make it available for pre-order.
Four Months Before Launch
Spark some interest in your newsletter.
Offer an incentive for readers to opt-in. You could send them a sample chapter, a character description quiz, a useful checklist based on your upcoming book’s topic, set up a challenge for your readers, or offer exclusive content in the form of a webinar or audio file.
Make sure to include a reference to your soon-to-be-released book someplace in the newsletter and on the opt-in page.
Share the opt-in lead magnet on your social media networks.
Three Months Before Launch
Update your author profiles on all your social media platforms. Include information about pre-ordering your book.
Continue providing content through your newsletter and Author Website.
Share a glimpse of your author’s life while you were writing the book.
Talk about the inspiration behind the book.
Two Months Before Launch
Create some marketing images. Use images from your book or your book cover. Add quotes from the book, author quotes, or testimonials from others if you have them.
Remember to provide a way for readers to pre-order your book as you post them on social media.
Send out the call for ARC (Advanced Review Copy) readers. Get your book into their hands as soon as possible.
Contact Book Bloggers to see if they would be interested in an ARC to review on their blogs.
One Month Before Launch
Create some countdown social posts using Canva. One month, one week, x days until the launch.
Share your book trailer.
Post an excerpt or first chapter on your Author Website. Generate some anticipation.
Create a Pinterest board about the book. Think outside the box here. If you are writing historical fiction, pin relevant facts, locations, even period furniture. If your book is non-fiction, pin articles you used in your research.
Begin your book blog tour.
Send out a launch day newsletter.
Post “Launching Today” posts across your social media networks.
Update your social media headers to highlight your book.
Email your ARC and Beta readers letting them know the book is ready for verified reviews.
Hold a launch party. Broadcast snippets live or share them afterward.
Post public thank you for event coordinators and share pictures of you and your book enjoying the party.
One Month After Launch
Continue your book blog tour.
Contact other authors to do some cross-promoting.
Keep posting to your Author Website.
Set up a live Q & A session on Facebook or Twitter.
Two Months After Launch
Take your book on the road.
Do book signings at local bookstores.
Talk to libraries about getting your book on the shelf.
Three Months After Launch
Do some giveaways on Goodreads or via your newsletter using Rafflecopter.
Publically thank readers who provide feedback or leave a review.
Find an organization that relates to your book topic and see if it would be interested in having you speak at an upcoming event.
Five Months After Launch
Make recommended reading lists on Goodreads or your Author Website that include your book.
Keep publishing engaging content on your Author Website.
Six Months After Launch
Release the print or audio version of your book. Use the new format to do another mini-launch.
Start generating interest in your next book.
You might not want to include all of these suggestions, but the more publicity there is about your book, the more likely you’ll sell some copies of it. So try to complete as many as possible, as often as possible without being spammy.
Everyone wants to be the author of a best seller. Once you have that moniker, chances are you’ll sell more books because people are drawn to success. You might also have more opportunities to promote your business, speak as an authority at functions, and make more money. It’s a status thing.
Becoming a best-selling author on Amazon isn’t always easy, but there are a few things you can do to increase the odds in your favor.
Bestseller status is calculated by Amazon with actual book sales. A book that successfully reaches #1 has recently sold more than any other book in that category. Sales aren’t consistent across Amazon sites. Therefore, if your book is selling well in the U.K., it might not meet the count to become a U.S. bestseller.
Amazon’s bestseller algorithm has a predictive component. So a sudden spike in sales might not be enough to launch your book among the stars. You’ll have more success with a sustained period of high sales.
You can increase your chances of hitting that bestseller mark by taking a serious look at your:
Title and subtitle
When you uploaded your book, you had the option to choose two categories that you felt best represented the theme of your work. What you might not know is that you can request up to eight more categories, as long as you can justify your book being classified in that way. All you need to do is contact the KDP people (http://www.kdp.amazon.com/contact-us) with that request.
You should research your category choices carefully. Sometimes, the same categories are not available for print books as they are for Kindle books. Ideally, to improve your chances of best-seller status, you should look for categories that don’t have a lot of competition but still fit your book’s theme.
You can see all the current categories for Kindle books here and for print books here.
If you want the right readers to find your book, keywords are another important aspect. You’ll have the option to include up to seven keywords when you upload your manuscript. Don’t be afraid to use phrases instead of single words here. For example, “How to retire in Mexico” is probably more searchable then just “retirement.”
Make sure your keywords don’t violate Amazon’s policies. The key is to think like a reader. If you were searching for your book, what phrases would you use? Do some searching on Amazon and see what results you get.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure your cover is eye-catching and representative of your book.
Title and Subtitle
An interesting title and subtitle that hints at what readers will find inside, or outright tell them, will improve sales.
The book description is key to convincing readers who are on the fence about your book. Make sure your book blurb shines.
Readers give often quite a bit of credence to the opinion of others when it comes to their book selections. Work on getting quality book reviews.
With the Look Inside option, you have the chance to dazzle your potential reader with your prose. Don’t waste this opportunity with acknowledgments or other items that can be moved to the back matter.
Once you’ve tweaked these factors to optimize your chances, then the best thing you can do to reach bestseller stardom is to write a great book and market the heck out of it.
Assignment: Optimize your book for bestseller status.
There’s no question that people are watching more videos these days. One billion hours of YouTube videos are watched per day. YouTube is the second most popular site on the internet these days (right after Google).
Facebook video is another up and coming option you should be aware of. Statistics show that 11 percent of all Facebook posts are videos and this platform generates 8 billion video views per day.
You can capitalize on all those video hours by creating your own book trailer. It’s a little out of the norm and will get more attention than a traditional book review or social media advertisement.
Now, the thing with a book trailer is you want it to be knock-their-socks-off good. If friends and family cringe when they watch it, well, perhaps it won’t be as successful as you’d like it to be. On the other hand, a professional and interesting book trailer demonstrates that you are a good storyteller across mediums, and prompts more interest in your book.
So here are some tips when designing a riveting book trailer.
Think about your typical reader and adapt the trailer to appeal to them specifically. If your book is a romance, then make your trailer romantic. If it is a mystery, then create a suspenseful trailer.
Hook your reader with a compelling video, not a summary of your book. You could focus on the problem the character in your book faces or the solution your non-fiction book provides the reader.
Keep it short. Aim for at least 30 seconds, but less than 2 minutes.
Use professional photos and graphics. There’s a lot of competition out there and you want your book trailer to stand out. Make sure to get permission to use images that are not your own.
Consider hiring an expert. Making a quality video, even a short one, incorporates many technical skills. If you aren’t skilled in video production, find someone to help you. Animated videos especially need the expertise of professionals.
If your book is nonfiction you could create an author video that demonstrates your expertise on the subject of your book. Consider your personal appearance if you do. Pay attention to what you are wearing, the background, and how well you articulate your words.
If you want to enact a scene from your book with real people, get actors to play the parts. Visit your local theater or advertise online. A professional voice actor is another possible way to get just the right tone for your book trailer.
Background music is a way to make text and images more memorable. Be sure to get permission to include it or use royalty-free music.
Make sure to include a call to action at the end of the trailer. Tell the viewer where your book is available for purchase.
Share the video everywhere! Add it to your author website, share it on social media, and upload it to YouTube. The more you share it, the more chance you’ll have to get the attention of potential readers.
There are several free or low-cost sites that can help you create a book trailer. Windows users can download Movie Maker or Photo Story. Mac computers have iMovie software already installed. You can use Powerpoint to create a presentation then export it as a video. Prezi also has a free version.
You may not be totally convinced that self-publishing is for you, and that’s ok. You have options. There are three main routes to publishing these days, traditional, self, and hybrid. Let’s take a few minutes to highlight the pros and cons of each.
Traditional publishing refers to the process of being given a book deal by a publishing company. It typically involves submitting your manuscript to a number of agents or publishers and quite a few rejection letters. Once your book has been accepted, a contract is drawn up and signed by the author, the publisher, and the agent. A manuscript will go through several more rounds of editing before it is published.
Validation. Your book was deemed worthy to be published by one of the big guns in publishing.
Getting your book into brick and mortar bookstores is initially easier.
You’ll have a team of editors, cover designers, and formatters to work with.
No upfront financial costs and sometimes a royalty advance.
Slow process. It could take years to get an agent. Then it could take more years before your book is launched.
You lose creative control over your title, cover, and marketing.
Royalty is reduced by expenses incurred, so it could be as low as 7% of total sales.
Marketing may be inadequate to generate sales or not be part of the package deal at all.
There are all sorts of self-publishing platforms out there these days, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, Kobo, and Wattpad among others. When you self-publish your book, you are basically asking a publisher to print your book and sometimes distribute it. You retain all copyrights and ISBN numbers as well as any books you have printed and purchased through the publisher.
You might do better as a self-published author if you are producing books on niche topics, highly specific themes, rather than general interest works. Remember, just because there are not so many hoops to jump through, doesn’t mean you should aim for the creation of the best book possible. That means editing, proofreading, checking for formatting errors, and so on.
You are the final say in your book’s content, design, and marketing strategy.
It’s faster to get from finished manuscript to market and get paid.
You’ll earn higher royalties, usually 35% to 70% of each sale.
You can sell your book in other countries while retaining the rights to your work.
If you do well at self-publishing, agents might contact you for a traditional book contract.
You have to do everything yourself, or hire someone to edit, format, design a cover, and market your book.
There’s still a stigma to self-published work. Writers are often not considered “real” authors until they get a contract.
You’ll need to budget for editing, cover design, and marketing expenses.
It’s more difficult to get your book into brick and mortar bookstores.
If you go the hybrid publishing route, you can hire a publisher and keep your copyrights. The publisher will publish your book with their company imprint as well as providing a professional cover and do the editing. Some companies will market your book, while others leave that aspect up to you. It’s important to understand what services you will be receiving for your fee.
Hybrid Publishing companies include 3rd Coast Books, Page Two Strategies, Greenleaf Book Group, TCK Publishing, Plum Bay Publishing, Rebel Press, and Unbound to name a few.
The publishing company provides professional printing, layout, cover design, and editing.
You retain copyrights.
Royalties are higher than standard.
Great for niche books.
Fees to the publishing company can be substantial.
You are responsible for marketing.
It’s more difficult to get your book into brick and mortar bookstores.
An author newsletter is also an excellent way to market your book. However, don’t be book self-promoting every single time. So if you aren’t selling, what are you writing about in your newsletter?
You should write content that would be interesting to your readers. Providing useful, informative, or entertaining particulars increase the chance that your readers will peruse, read, and maybe even look forward to your periodic missives.
If you are a middle-ages romance novelist, perhaps you could share some historical tidbits you discovered while researching your soon to be released Scottish highland book. If you write about homesteading, how-to articles are always well-received.
Get your readers involved with polls or surveys. What do they want to read about? Which cover is more appealing? What would they do if….?
Share your upcoming promotions. If you had a book signing recently, write about it. Include pictures and links to where newsletter subscribers can get a signed copy for themselves. If you do a podcast, include a link. If you have a Q&A session on Facebook Live coming up, invite them to join you.
Tell an entertaining or embarrassing personal story. Talk about how your cat Fluffy has been helping or hindering you as you write your soon-to-be-released book. Give readers your writing playlist, favorite inspirational quotes, or writer’s block brownie recipe. Bonus points if you can tie in your next book.
You could include articles written from the perspective of your book characters. Or tie in the holidays to an upcoming or past book. Remember when Janie broke Paul’s heart right before Christmas in Jingle Bells, Chrismas Sucks–A Holiday Romance? Well, this Christmas, here’s how you can avoid family drama…
A newsletter helps you make a personal connection with your readers. Those that sign up are already interested in your books, so why not capitalize on it? Unlike Facebook or Twitter, you own the newsletter. You don’t have to worry about changing algorithms affecting the visibility of your posts or having the platform disappear completely. Remember Google +?
Mailchimp has free plans, pay-as-you-go plans, as well as several other monthly plans. With any plan, you can use ready-made templates to drag and drop your content, links, and images. The free plan allows you to contact up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month. Because Mailchimp integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress, readers can sign up for your newsletter through these platforms as well.
Another email option is Mailerlite. The free plan will let you contact up to 1,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month.
Remember not to spam your subscribers and to include an unsubscribe option at the bottom of the newsletter.
Post a link to your newsletter sign-up page on your Twitter, Facebook, and website. Offer a freebie in exchange for their opt-in. You could offer sample chapters, novellas, checklists, writing tips and tricks, or something else that you think your readers might enjoy.
The key to a successful newsletter is offering content that has value, such as useful information, personal connection, free/bargain books, and so on. If you don’t think you are up to the task, then don’t try to force yourself to create a newsletter. Focus on other methods of social media publicity instead.
Lockscreen ads appear on Kindle and Kindle Fire devices of people that have read a book related to one of your target words in the past. Lockscreen ads are only available for eBook promotions, not paperback.
They are charged on a cost-per-click. So if no one clicks on your ad, you aren’t charged for it. When readers do click on your ad, they are taken to your eBook’s detail page on Amazon. These types of ads are only available on Amazon.com.
After choosing the Lockscreen ad option, you’ll be taken to the page to set up your ad campaign. Here, you will enter a campaign name to help you keep track of different ads. It’s not information that is visible in the ad. It is for your organizational use only.
Then choose a start and end date for the ad campaign. The start day will always be two days from the date you submit the campaign to Amazon for review. Amazon recommends you run your ad campaign for at least four weeks.
To figure out what your lifetime budget is, multiply the number of days you want the ad to run by your daily budget. The minimum lifetime budget is $100, so you’ll have to plan to spend at least that much for each ad campaign. Remember, if no one clicks on your ad, you aren’t charged with this sort of campaign, so that $100 could stretch out quite a while.
If your goal is to generate clicks quickly, choose the Run campaign as quickly as possible option. If your goal is to make the most of the time you have decided to run the campaign, then select Spread campaign evenly over its duration.
Under products, you’ll see all your current eBooks. Choose the eBook you want to advertise in this ad campaign.
In this section, you will choose genres or interests that you want to target with your ad. You can choose as many as you like. Under each category, you can target all or select only the most relevant.
Your budget must be 100 times your bid per click. So if you have entered a lifetime budget of $100, your bid per click can not be more than $1.00.
You can enter a custom text to entice potential readers. It should be at least 50 characters and no more than 150 characters. Below this you can see a preview of what your ad will look like on the Kindle lockscreen and the Kindle home screen.
Submit for Review
You will not be able to edit any part of your ad campaign once you have submitted it for review, so check everything carefully before you do so. Amazon will email you once it has been approved or if you need to make changes. This process can take up to three business days.
If your eBook ad is rejected, review Amazon’s book ad policies. Your cover might be too racy for all audiences or your book subject might not be considered appropriate for some groups of people.
Once you set up your ad account, you’ll see that there are two options to choose from: Sponsored products and Lockscreen Ads. In this post, we’ll discuss sponsored products campaigns.
Select the corresponding ad type. You’ll be taken to a page to enter the details. Create a campaign name to help you keep track of different ads. It’s not information that is visible in the ad. It is for your organizational use only.
Then choose a start and end date for the ad campaign. If you don’t designate an end day, it will continue indefinitely. If you want to extend the ad campaign past the end date, you can change the end date anytime before the date you had originally chosen.
Decide on a daily budget. This is the amount you are willing to spend on ads during a 24-hour period.
Next, you’ll need to determine whether you want to go with automatic or manual keyword marketing. If you have no experience at this, you’d do best to let Amazon choose the keywords for your book. Once you have done a few ad campaigns, you can refine the keyword targeting to best reach your potential readers.
Campaign Bidding Strategy
Now you’ll need to decide how to create a range of bid prices. Remember, Amazon will always choose the highest bid within the category to display since it will make them the most money, so this step is important.
Dynamic bids change depending on the likelihood of a sale. So if someone has searched for books about holidays in Mexico and your book is about traveling in Mexico, it’s not a perfect keyword match. Amazon will determine how likely the person searching is to be interested in your book based on complicated algorithms.
If you choose Dynamic bids–down only and Amazon determines that the searcher isn’t likely to be interested in your book about traveling in Mexico, then they will charge you less if the person does click on the ad.
If you go with Dynamic bids–up and down, then Amazon will charge you more when it’s a perfect keyword match than if it’s only a partial match. Therefore, if the person is searching for books about traveling in Mexico, then Amazon will charge you the full price. If the person is looking for a book about holidays in Mexico, then they won’t, since it’s not a sure thing.
Fixed bids take the fluctuation out of the equation. You’ll be charged the same price no matter the likelihood of purchase according to the algorithms.
Adjust bid by placement will give you more opportunities to have your book prominently displayed either at the top of the page or on product pages. Remember, it’s a bidding process, so the higher your bid, the more likely Amazon will choose your ad to display over someone else’s ad. Of course, that means you’ll pay more for that privilege.
You can either use a standard ad format or a customized one. Custom text is only available on Amazon.com right now. However, if you are using that marketplace to run your ad campaign, you should use the opportunity to hook readers with creative commentary.
If you select the standard ad format you can create an ad group. This allows you to advertise similar books under the same bid parameters and keywords you’ve already chosen.
If you have reached the ad campaign setup page by choosing Promote and Advertise from your KDP If you have reached the ad campaign setup page by choosing the Promote and Advertise option from your KDP bookshelf, then your product is already selected. If not, choose one from your product list.
You can choose the default bid or set the bids by targeting groups. Amazon helpfully supplies a suggested bid for your book as well.
When you set bids by targeting groups, you can change your bid amount depending on if the keyword search is a close or loose match, a word substitute or a complimentary term.
So if your keyword is “holiday celebrations in Mexico” a close match would be “holidays” or “Mexico” whereas a loose match might be “Latin America” or “customs.” A word substitute would be “customs in Mexico” where the word “holiday” is used instead of the term “customs.” “Customs in Latin American” might be a complement keyword phrase. It isn’t exactly what the person was looking for, but your book falls into the general category.
Negative Keyword Targeting
Negative keywords allow you to define who sees your ad based on their search parameters. You can use it to make sure your ad isn’t shown for a particular term because it is irrelevant.
For example, if your book is about Mexico, a negative keyword you could set up is “New Mexico” because people looking for New Mexico are not your target readers, typically. Doing this saves you money since your ad won’t be displayed for New Mexico searches.
If this is your first ad, you might not know what terms to include as negative keywords. You can get a general idea from negative keyword generators online like WordStream. It isn’t absolutely required that you list negative keywords, so don’t sweat it too much.
Under Creative you’ll see a preview of your ad. You can insert custom text to hook the potential reader if you like.
Submit for Review
If you have already entered your credit card information for billing, you can submit your ad campaign for review. Amazon will then determine if your book meets the requirements and standards set out in the policy guide. If it is, you’ll be billed monthly for the total number of showings during that time period.